In Order to Live

In Order to Live : A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom

by Yeonmi Park


I devoured this memoir. Prior to this book, I had only read one other book which discussed the harsh reality of a North Korea’s life. But even there, it was a graphic novel written by Guy Delisle, Pyongyang, where he described his experience in the city. This graphic novel is autobiographical ; Guy Delisle, a french-canadian, was in Pyongyang for a work trip and therefore didn’t experience the everyday life to the same extent as Yeonmi Park did.

While I was reading this memoir, I constantly had to remind myself that the girl writing those lines lived her childhood in 1990, and not 1890! As she is a few years younger than me, the fact that she was living in those atrocious life conditions while I was enjoying the comfort of my first-world life hit me hard. I found her to have an incredible resilience, but at the same time, it revolts me to think of all the hardships she went through before she even was fifteen. Her childhood really was stolen by the North Korean regime. Yeomni Park is truly an inspiration and I will follow her while she continues to advocate for the freedom of her people.

On a side note, it’s been two or three months since I read Orwell’s Animal Farm and I think that both these books complement each other. Animal Farm was like a crash-course on dictatorship, while In Order to Live showed me the reality of a citizen’s life under such a dictatorship.



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